Make Your 2016 Oscars Picks Now

The 88th Academy Awards will take place Sunday, February 28th and 6:00 PM CT. Vying for the big prize of Best Motion Picture are films like Spotlight, The Revenant, The Big Short, and Bridge of Spies, and viewers are anxious to hear Chris Rock’s monologue.

In the meantime, you can make your picks beforehand here. All the films nominated were featured in my “Best of 2015” list and you can hear my picks on The Piffcast after Thursday night.

Update: We made our picks on The Piffcast, Thursday night. So make yours now!

Actress in a Leading Role

 

Actor in a Leading Role

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

 

Actor in a Supporting Role

 

Writing (Original Screenplay)

 

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

 

Visual Effects

 

Sound Mixing

 

Sound Editing

 

Animated Feature Film

 

Costume Design

 

Documentary (Feature)

 

Documentary (Short Subject)

 

Short Film (Animated)

 

Short Film (Live Action)

 

Production Design

 

Makeup and Hairstyling

 

Music (Original Score)

 

Music (Original Song)

 

Foreign Language Film

 

Film Editing

 

Directing

 

Best Picture

 

Stay tuned for more on the Oscars, and follow along on Facebook or Twitter!

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The 2016 SAG Award Nominations and My Thoughts

The 2016 SAG Award nominations were announced Wednesday morning, and two things struck me:

  1. The Screen Actors Guild LOVED Trumbo, maybe a bit more than me.
  2. I don’t think they’ve seen Fargo yet on FX. Seriously…

This is just one of several award shows (which airs Jan. 30th on TNT and TBS), but it’s one of the few that gauges my interest more than others because it acknowledges both the film and TV world. Here are the nominees and some quick thoughts on each category.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Johnny Depp – Black Mass
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

I really have no problem with this category. I have yet to see Revenant or The Danish Girl, but I don’t doubt the performances of DiCaprio or Redmayne carry their films like the other nominees. If there was someone that I would like to see get more credit, it’s Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in End of the Tour. It didn’t take much transforming, aside from the obvious hair and glasses, but Segel’s performance is as engaging and natural as any from the summer…especially in his interactions with Jesse Eisenberg.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Helen Mirren – Woman In Gold
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back

I can’t get upset about this category because I think it’s Brie Larson’s award to lose, and hers alone. However, I’m surprised Jennifer Lawrence was left out after another highly anticipated David O’Russell  role. Of course the film hasn’t hit theaters yet, so I can’t really talk..Alicia Vikander deserves more love for Ex Machina because she still haunts my dreams for her performance.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room

This category is HEAVY. Even without Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Sylvester Stallone (Creed) or Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), it looks stacked…but I’d like to see them all in it.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren – Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Helen Mirren has 3 nominations here and I’m not sure she’s winning any of them. It will be fun to see what her batting average is though by the night’s end. I would be interested to see what kind of buzz Jennifer Jason Leigh gets after Hateful Eight is released.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Trumbo

Spotlight is my favorite film from this year and it deserves all the good things that come its way. I am surprised both The Martian or Steve Jobs were left out of this category, considering how star studded their casts were. Their performances didn’t disappoint either.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Idris Elba – Luther
  • Ben Kingsley – Tut
  • Ray Liotta – Texas Rising
  • Bill Murray – A Very Murray Christmas
  • Mark Rylance – Wolf Hall

I don’t have many thoughts on this other than (1) Luther rules, (2) I turned off A Very Murray Christmas after 10 minutes and (3) Where is Oscar Isaac for Show Me A Hero. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Nicole Kidman – Grace of Monaco
  • Queen Latifah – Bessie
  • Christina Ricci – The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
  • Susan Sarandon – The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • Kristen Wiig – The Spoils Before Dying

I literally have zero thoughts about this one, because I haven’t seen any of the nominated performances yet.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men
  • Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey – House of Cards

I’m happy to see Rami Malek get props for playing the best introvert on TV, but this is Don Draper’s victory lap and I don’t see anyone getting in his way. I’m also always shocked to not see Mads Mikkelsen ever nominated for Hannibal. I guess that’s for fringe loving types like me.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
  • Robin Wright –House of Cards

Viola Davis has the momentum from the Emmys but I will always maintain that the past two seasons of House of Cards have been great nearly because of Robin Wright as much as Spacey.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell – Modern Family
  • Louis C.K. – Louie
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Modern Family to me is “What Will Phil Dunphy Do Next?” because that’s all I watch for now, but Jeffrey Tambor holding a torch for the transgender community has become way more important.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
  • Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
  • Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation

Poehler Thug

That is all.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men

If you’ve been watching the second season of Fargo, you’re probably wondering if perhaps the actors didn’t know how to spell it filling out their nominations, considering every Monday night feels like the show’s best episode…If you’ve been watching Homeland this seasonyou might be wondering why it’s on here. The season finale is in a week and I still have no idea if it was good or not this year.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Key & Peele
  • Modern Family
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Transparent
  • Veep

I would love to see Key & Peele ride off into the sunset with some hardware.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

  • Everest
  • Furious 7
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Fury Road is one of the best films of this year and a modern classic. Pick against it and you lose.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

  • The Blacklist
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • Marvel’s Daredevil
  • The Walking Dead

I just watched end Episode 2 of the first season again. This is why I love Daredevil.

How are you pulling for this Awards season? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Academy Awards Picks 2015

Awards season has flown by, hasn’t it? The Golden Globes and their weirdness feel like yesterday…

Louie Golden Globes

Wait, that was like a month ago? Wow. It has also felt like a quiet season too, in terms of big upsets and such…hold on a sec…

SIT DOWN, KANYE!

Back to the show…

Besides the actual awards being announced, I can’t wait to see what Neil Patrick Harris has up his sleeve. There are few hosts who are as much of a showman as NPH. Multiple Tony Award shows, the Emmys, and now the Oscars…? He’s just a Golden Globes away from his own Hosting EGOT. NPH be criticized and scrutinized like everybody ever to host it, but I expect nothing short of something Legen…wait for it

If you need a reference of what to anticipate, check out one of my favorite award show opens of his.

The Picks…

Last year everything felt predictable. The Dallas Buyers Club boys, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, took Best Lead and Supporting honors EVERYWHERE. Cate Blanchett did the same, like most Woody Allen characters do. Then Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years a Slave, while not necessarily consensus favorites, didn’t surprise anyone with their wins.

This year isn’t so easy, and that’s a good thing. 2014 (and early ’15) was an excellent year in film and made it fun going to the movie theater every week. Why the Academy went with just 8 nominees for Best Picture is beyond me, but every film in the running is very deserving…

So was Guardians of the Galaxy.

Peter Quill MF

Anywho…

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper 

Benedict Cumberbatch – Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman or ( The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

My Pick: Eddie Redmayne

It’s a loaded category. Benedict Cumberbatch was flawless in Imitation Game. Controversy over the man he depicted aside, Bradley Cooper rocked the “Punisher” logo he wore HARD. Steve Carell made everyone’s skin crawl (although I was more interested in Channing Tatum’s performance). And Michael Keaton carried the suspense of a bomb you were anticipating to explode…without the timer.

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking though was too special to deny. While I would love to see the award go to either Keaton or Cumberbatch, it’s Redmayne’s to lose at this point. His transformation into Hawking has won at nearly everything and fun fact…

The SAG winner in this category has won 100% of the time in the last decade.

(I do have to mention that I felt David Oyelowo was horribly robbed of a nomination in this category. Every bit as deserving as Cumberbatch, Keaton, Carell, and Redmayne…You can figure out who I left out.)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything 

Julianne Moore – Still Alice 

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl 

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

My Pick: Julianne Moore

I know…Nothing too controversial here. Moore has won in nearly every awards show that matters. Cotilard won the New York Film Critics Circle award…and good for her. Moore is as every bit of the accolades for her role in Still Alice, and it’s amazing that this will likely be her first win in 5 tries. But if there was a sleeper pick to make here, I would take Felicity Jones. You couldn’t ask for a better compliment performance to Eddie Redmayne’s than Jones.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood 

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher 

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

My Pick: J.K. Simmons

I feel bad for Edward Norton. He put out arguably his best performance of a great career in Birdman, but J.K. Simmons was just. too. good…

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep – Into The Woods 

My Pick: Emma Stone

Yeah, I can’t play the favorite on this one. Patricia Arquette has been cleaning up at award shows all season and I really don’t understand it. Yes, she was moving…but she wasn’t a showstopper like Emma Stone was.

Best Picture

American Sniper

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Boyhood 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma 

The Theory of Everything 

Whiplash 

My Pick: Birdman

I understand that this has turned into a 2 horse race between Boyhood and Birdman in terms of odds, but Birdman was clear and away the better film to me. I was more interested in how Boyhood was made than the actual product. Richard Linklater should, and probably will, win Best Director for presenting an entire childhood in 3 hours, but there wasn’t much of a story and the performances didn’t wow me more than the gimmick…

Birdman, on the other hand, is filled with performance after performance that grabs you by your collar, unpredictable, and has you at the end of your seat. Watching Boyhood, I just waited for Mason to finally grow up…but I loved the soundtrack.

That’s just me though…

Who are you picking to win tonight? Let me know and let’s talk about the show on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.